First of all, a huge thank-you to the three bloggers who nominated me, and an apology for being so delayed on my answers! I really appreciate it and wanted to make sure to pay the favor forward. For those who are not familiar, this is the idea:

The Liebster award is intended to give some exposure to small blogs with less than 200 followers. The rules are as follows:

1] Link back to the blogger who nominated you
2] Answer the 11 questions given to you by the blogger who nominated you
3] Nominate 11 other bloggers with less than 200 followers
4] Go to the blogs you nominated and notify them of your nomination
5] Give your nominees 11 questions to answer.

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MY 33 ANSWERS

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Questions from 可愛い国, a trilingual blog about food and other cultural topics with a special focus on the Netherlands and Japan.

1. What would you recommend to people visiting your area?
A 45-minute tour around Matsue on the Horikawa Sightseeing Boat, followed by matcha and wagashi at any of the establishments nearby.

2. Why do you blog?
Because more people should know about this part of Japan!

3. What do you like to read about most on other people’s blogs?
I love reading experts’ blogs on things I find interesting but am not an expert on.

4. What’s your favourite blog?
This is going to sound terribly narcissistic, but my own! Someday this will be my digital scrapbook of memories.

5. Which book, movie and music would you want to recommend to everyone?
Book: “Bushido: The Soul of Japan” by Inazo Nitobe, 1900.
Movie: “Okuribito” (“Departures”)
Music: Kalafina is my favorite band lately!

6. What’s your favourite recipe?
I don’t follow recipes very well… ^^; That might be why I don’t like having people eat what I cook. But as for things to throw together, lately I love soups full of vegetables! Matcha truffles have also been a lot of fun to make in the past, but they make a big mess (at least when I attempt them).

7. What are you most proud of?
Deciding to write manga instead of just fantasize about writing manga. I’ve always been afraid of being judged for my love of manga, but that doesn’t change how much I enjoy it. Furthermore, actually doing it is showing me that I don’t actually want a life of this after all, instead of leaving me to wonder what could have been if I actually went for it.

8. What’s your dream in life?
To be useful while still indulging in my hobbies.

9. How would you save the world?
I would become a benevolent dictator and take away everyone’s free will so that they don’t make stupid decisions. If you mean this realistically, I’m still working that out myself. There are a lot of methods to choose from there’s the lingering pressure to try to do them all myself.

10. If money, time and other obligations wouldn’t be an issue, what would you most like to do at this moment?
Gather up all my friends from back home and around the world and go to karaoke. Some of them would hate it, though.

11. What do you like most about the country you’re living in now?
I get to practice the culture instead of just admiring it from afar.

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Questions from Cutenippon, a collection of tidbits and explanations about Japanese cultural practices, presented in clear fashion.

1) What is your favorite holiday?
For some reason, I really love China’s Autumn Moon Festival and all the customs that go with it, so I make sure to celebrate it at least in little ways even if I’m by myself! At least in Japan there’s some moon viewing activities, too.

2) If you could choose a wardrobe from any given decade and century what would it be?
Hard choice! Really, really hard choice! Lately I’d lean toward Taisho era Japan since I’d have a mix of girlish hakama, progressive kimono, and snazzy Western clothes.

3) If you could travel anywhere in the world what would your top 3 places be?
Karni Mata Temple in India, the Palace of Versailles in France, and… home?

4) Tea or coffee?
TEA!!

5) What is your zodiac sign?
I’m a Dragon at heart and a Capricorn in the head.

6) If you had a past life what country and time period would you be from?
Everyone says I must have been Asian in a past life, but something tells me I would have been Italian. Maybe sometime in the 12th-14th centuries…?

7) Which is your favorite cats, dogs or fish?
Cats and dogs are both nice, fish are boring.

8) What was the last book you read?
“The Giver” by Lois Lowry.

9) Name the first 5 items you see right now if you open your fridge.
Peanut butter, yogurt, kaya jam, strawberry jam, eggs.

10) What is your favorite flower?
Hard question again! Um… um… I’m partial to camellia lately, but I love irises and peonies and cyclamen and osmanthus and plum blossoms, too.

11) What does blogging mean to you?
As stated in the previous set of questions, this is both my scrapbook and my way of telling the world how cool this part of Japan is.

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Questions from I’ll Make It Myself!, essays about food’s gendered interaction with culture and handy guides for cooking in Japan.

1. If you could pick any decade to dine in in your region of choice, where would you go?
As long as money is no object, then modern day New York City would be fine because I would never be limited in my options. That, and a lot of cuisine of the past is quite unappealing, even for the upperclass!

2. Favorite food-related TV show/film/book/comic?
I do have a soft spot for Food Network’s “Chopped.” It’s interesting enough to keep me curious, and short enough that I don’t get bored following a season of drama.

3. What prompted you to start your blog? What keeps you writing now?
As stated in a previous set of questions, many people are not even aware of the existence of this relatively unpopulated region of Japan, however much people may be on the lookout for less commercial faces of Japan. I found it, and it keeps me writing!

4. What food did you hate as a child but love now?
Almost everything I eat now. I was so picky! Then again, I still am, but now I love tomatoes and tea and tofu and the like.

5. Favorite underrated song?
“Someone in a Tree” from Sondheim’s “Pacific Overtures,” an underrated musical.

6. Tell me about your favorite coffee mug or tea cup.
I don’t actually have many of my own at this point in time–they’re mostly ones I got in a hurry from the 100yen shop when I first moved in. I’m hoping to collect a cup or mug from each of the three famous pottery styles in Matsue (Rakuzan, Sodeshi, and Fujina) while I live here.

7. Are you in any fandoms? If so, what was your first, and what are you into now?
I am in too many fandoms across multiple media to start listing or prioritizing, but suffice to say Digimon is the reason I am in Japan today! Never doubt where your child’s love of cartoons will take them.

8. Tell me about a film, piece of literature, song, etc. that changed your life.
Does the above count? ^_^; There have been many pieces of literature or songs or plays that have stuck with me in different ways, but rather than changing my life I think they help me make sense of it.

9. The spice you would take with you when moving abroad. (Example: chipotle powder to Japan)
Fresh salsas and a selection of cheeses and thick pesto sauce don’t count, do they?

10. Do you collect anything? (Figurines, wine corks, stamps, retro kitsch)
Lapel pins (not buttons) are my little weakness.

11. The cookbook or site you use most often if you cook, or the restaurant/yatai/cafe you eat at the most if you don’t?

Kitchen Okada is the local panya (bread shop) near my workplace, and I typically go there at least once a week to eat a light dinner on my way to naginata practice. The bread (and otherwise!) is tasty and they have artsy books to flip through at the counter. I’ve memorized the songs they play at that hour of the day, though.

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MY 11 NOMINATIONS
Let’s push them past 200 watchers!

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幽窓茶道: Translations of tea ceremony related passages, including tools, terms, and philosophy. One of my favorite blogs!

Primates: Anthropology explained in understandable and insightful ways.

OTAKU LOUNGE: Breakdowns and reviews of anime written by a blogger with a PhD in this topic, and a place to discuss anime culture.

茶有の者 – A Man with Tea: Musings on the world and Japanese culture, both in detail and at large, with a special eye for the arts.

天地間に: Writings on history and cultural practices (including Shinto) with a special focus on Japan–and Hawaii!

Japan Kaleidoskop: A multifaceted look at works of Japanese art and literature and introductions to famous or lesser-known works. My favorite feature is Art on Tuesday.

Legends and Fairytales: Analysis of legends and fairytales based on detailed readings and cultural context, as well as explanations of their importance to children.

Soijasiili: I originally followed this blog for the posts about making wagashi (Japanese confections), but it touches on unique art in a wide variety of forms.

Folliculostella: Stunning photography of travels in and perspectives of life in Japan. I really enjoy her writing style, too. Make sure to see her Tottori entries (1, 2, 3)!

Takeshita Demons: A blog about the writing process and culture surrounding a series of books about Japanese mythology aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds.

Where Are All The Filipino Restaurants?: A good food blog in all respects, dedicated to Filipino cuisine.

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MY 11 QUESTIONS

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1. What inspires you to blog?
2. What do you hope readers take away from your blog?
3. In a world without the internet, how would you try to accomplish the above?
4. Would you rather live in the mountains or by the beach?
5. What food are you proud you tried, but would never eat again?
6. Do you have any interesting stories behind any scars?
7. How would you pitch your favorite travel destination to someone who has never heard of it?
8. Your camera breaks while you’re on an exciting vacation. What do you do?
9. However big or small, what’s something you have always wanted to try doing?
10. A favorite childhood memory?
11. What person, in any place or time period, would you trade places with for a day?

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